Creating the music for Sedna in 2012 with the Borderless Art Movement! (BAM!) was a real turning point for my creative work. This was a massive production involving almost 30 performers and crew, had over 50 minutes of music, was staged in Yellowknife’s most established theatre, and involved live musicians, an electroacoustic track, a storyteller/actress, a troupe of dancers and a swath of live painters. Many ‘firsts’ for this BAM! performance were the inclusion of dance, the combination of electroacoustic sounds of the North with live musicians, requiring painters to become actors and the painting panels to move and transform during the performance.
The Inuit legend of Sedna exists throughout the North. I don’t remember the first time I was told the story – it was always a part of my knowledge of the North as I grew up. The legend has many variations, but all tell of a woman who goes through many hardships – often involving the trickery of ravens. She becomes the goddess of the sea, and creates and controls all the animals in the ocean.
Musically this work was my first ‘modular’ composition: it was designed so that segments could be repeated or removed as necessary to adjust to the timing of the other performers. The music also required the musicians to improvise not only with notes, but with strange and unusual ‘extended techniques’ on their instruments. Improvisation was new to some of the performers and helped them to stretch their creative borders. I performed the electroacoustic track in the sound booth and some of the sounds included raven grooves, water sounds captured with a hydrophone (underwater mic), and ‘whale’ sounds created with the help of a local choir and plastic on windows.
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